Of rivalries and guys just doing their jobs
Finally, some snow to shovel. Whoop-dee-damn-doo!
But while I’m working, you can read:
I can’t think of a single time in the past when any Canada-Germany game in any sport anywhere caused as much concern as this big tilt Tuesday night does.
When you think rivalry, that’s hardly up there with the biggies.
And that got me thinking, in the kind of non-linear thinking that I tend to do about the Raptors and their rivals and who they really are.
Top five all-time Raptors rivalries
(Done with the proviso that these things come and go and you have to recall the circumstances around each of them)
New York, circa early-2000s.
Vince-Sprewell, Butch-Marcus, Oak-history, Mark Jackson-Alvin.
It was outstanding and there was a real edge to it.
New Jersey, the Booing Years
Yeah, him. Intensity like I’ve never felt around the building here. Oh, and the whole “let’s wear red jerseys just to mess ‘em up thing” was kind of fun.
There was a bit of an edge to Vince-Ray Allen over Olympic team stuff and Butch was persona non-grata in some areas of Wisconsin because the Bucks thought he’d tampered with Dell Curry. And he might have.
It will vault way up the list if they meet in the playoffs this year, won’t it?
Oh yeah, this one’s got a lot of player in it, actually. It’s not that they hate each other a lot, but there is some “screw you” in the Raptors when they play them. Or at least they'll try to give off that vibe.
We get all kinds of suggestions here that when some Raptor gets hurt someone else better “step up” and fill the void.
Yes, they do; but, as we’ve said before, it’s not like they try harder or anything. They give whatever effort they have every night and just because someone’s missing – like, say, a Chris Bosh – doesn’t really mean much.
As Jarrett pointed out yesterday:
“We don’t have a meeting and say, ‘you know, Chris is out and we’ve got to …’
“I’m being serious, we just come in, we know what the situation is with Chris being down, we have to come out and play with that same heart, that same intensity, that same effort that we’ve been doing all season long.
“And when Chris gets back, it’s going to be the same thing. We’re not going to have a meeting and say, ‘Chris is here, everything is all right.’ Chris is going to come back, be that presence we so desperately need and keep on rolling.”
Canada vs. U.S. for women’s pucks gold out in Vancouver?
Who’d have figured that, eh?
So I’m watching Atlanta-Utah last night (if they did Ice Dancing With The Stars it might have been different) and, of course, there are all kinds of promotional commercials for what’s coming up on RaptorsTV.
Longing for the return of the Norma Wick Comedy Hour, I sit intently watching and see them setting up Wednesday’s game.
And they’re doing it by plugging Bargnani vs. Roy and I’m thinking they really think Andrea’s come around or they don’t see some of my e-mail, where the tired old debate rears its ugly head every now and then.
So Andrew Bogut goes 12-15 from the field, had 20 rebounds including six on the offensive end as Milwaukee edges the Knicks 83-67 and the night does not include a single free throw?
Oh yeah, that’s one tough Knicks team indeed.
Bet LeBron, Bosh and Wade are drooling at chance.
It was a little interesting listening to Jay talk Monday about the Raptors’ depth and who plays when and how he always expects guys at the end of the bench to be ready to contribute when called on.
The context was, of course, Rasho and what he’s done in the last couple of games but Jay turned the conversation rather quickly.
“That helps define who you are as a team and we’ve been very good with being ready to play when guys get an opportunity.
“Marco Belinelli is a perfect example. He hasn’t played in two of the last three games but he hasn’t done anything wrong, it’s just been a matter of, I think our first game back we lacked energy so we went with Sonny; and with matchup problems he doesn’t get in.
“But he could play major minutes against Portland on Wednesday and be a key factor in our game Friday. Everybody has to stay ready and that’s part of being professional.”
Now, I imagine a lot of that was a coach tossing a player a proverbial bone with public comments during tough times (and I know Marco’s not happy at all with DNP-CDs, but who would be?) but it was a little interesting nonetheless.
And I will tell you this:
If they use Marco tomorrow night to play against Rudy Fernandez, it is going to be wild. Those might be two of my favourite “you never have any idea what you might see next ‘cause they make it up as they go along, too” players in the league today.
Oh yeah, the Hawthorn Hawks wrap up the arduous four-game regular season against the dastardly Queenstons on Thursday. In case you wanted to buy tickets, that is.